One especially useful feature of the current version of MindManager (MM2019) is the way in which the program’s latest features can work with each other as well as with MM’s more established features to produce new ways of seeing, managing, and presenting material in mind maps. In this series I will look at some of these integrations, starting with how the revamped SmartRules feature can be used to translate tags and icons, including task icons, into topic properties which can then be used with MM’s Formula facility.
What can I do with this?
The primary purpose of this integration is to provide a dynamic count at the central or parent topic level of specific tags or icons in the relevant descendant sub-topics. MM has long had the facility to count tags and icons in the Marker Index, but these are global counts across either the whole or filtered map and aren’t easily accessible within the map itself. Sometimes it’s more useful to show the total count directly in the map, especially if you can show it on a branch-by-branch basis.
The ability to count tags and icons with a map also opens up a range of other possibilities. These counts can be used in other formulas or to apply specific tags or formatting to the parent topic; for example, you can use this approach to apply and then count tags for specific defects in a project, or each time a particular comment is made in a survey at the sub-topic level.
Alternatively, a special tag could be added to the parent topic depending on the result, or it could be specially formatted to highlight key issues. This facility can even be used as a basis for constructing Boolean If-Then-Else statements which currently are not available in formulas. I’ll explore some variations on this approach and other potential uses in later articles.
What is involved?
The process is reasonably straightforward, providing you have a basic understanding of MM2019’s Topic Properties, SmartRules and Formulas – and of course, tags and icons. If you haven’t used these features before try to have a little play with them first. In this example I’m using the default Kanban “To Do”, “Doing” and “Done” tag group but you could use any tag group or icon set.
It’s probably best to start with a group containing a limited number of tags or icons set to mutually exclusive, though you can use more complex groups and ones which are not constrained this way (though there are some issues which I’ll cover later). I’m also using a simple map and adding the count totals to the central topic, but the same approach can be used to show the totals for each branch at the parent topic level.